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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Glee, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d recommend to Sugar Motta

Harmonic Feedback, the book I'd recommend to Sugar MottaAs regular readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of Glee.

I like the storylines.

I like the songs.

I like the underdog factor.

I like the romance.

In fact, this may be the first time I’ve ever said anything critical about the show. So pardon me, but …

I just don’t see the point of Sugar Motta.

I’ve got nothing against actress Vanessa Lengies, who portrays Sugar. She seems very likable. And Sugar herself could have been a pivotal character.

So, I guess my complaint is more directed to the writers. Because here’s how it played out:

  1. Sugar Motta shows up after a food fight, says she’s the best singer in the school.
  2. She auditions and is hideously horrible.
  3. Mr. Shuester tries to let her down easily.
  4. She doesn’t buy it, saying, “I worked that song like a hooker pole.”
  5. Her wealthy father pays to create a glee club molded around Sugar to tramble New Directions.
  6. But then, Santana, Brittany and Mercedes defect to the new club and Sugar disappears.

Sure, she’s still technically around.

You’d see her for a millisecond here or there when the camera panned the second glee club. And then, when the two clubs merged, as you knew they would, Sugar came along. And there was no mention about her wanting to be the star, no word on whether she had suddenly somehow learned to sing, no complaints from her father, no anything. Just the occasional brief appearance in background of the choir room. (It was enough to make you wonder why Glee even kept Lengies under contract to do essentially nothing.)

Until Valentine’s Day where Sugar got her own episode and had Artie and Rory unexpectedly fight for the right to date her. And then, after that, she basically disappeared again and the storyline was dropped.

I have no idea if Sugar Motta will grace the halls of William McKinley High in Season 4 of Glee. But a good librarian is always prepared, and just in case she does, I have the book I’d recommend she read — Harmonic Feedback (Henry Holt and Company, 2010) by Tara Kelly.

Why? Because of a few comments Sugar made in her first episode.

She’d say something rude and then say, “Sorry! Self-diagnosed Asperger’s!” This seemed like a reference to Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. People with Asperger’s sometimes have difficulty with social interaction. Sugar, however, seemed to feel that saying she might have this condition gave her license to say whatever she wanted with no repercussions.

So I think Sugar might benefit from meeting Drea, the main character of this book. Drea, who’s 16, has been officially diagnosed with “a touch of Asperger’s.” Drea knows she’s different than other people and tries to blend in and lurk in the background. She’s wary of making friends because she hasn’t always interpreted their behavior correctly and history has taught her that once other teens discover she’s different, they don’t hang around her anymore.

And while Drea would like to have friends, she’s not always sure they’re worth the effort.

Drea has a hard life in other ways, too.

Her mom has just moved her to yet another town for a new beginning. Money is tight, so they’re sta

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2. A GLEEFUL READ: The book I’d recommend to Wade Adams

Putting Makeup on the Fat BoyGlee’s cast of characters is getting bigger all the time.

In some ways that’s frustrating. With each new character that walks the halls of William McKinley High or the area surrounding Lima, Ohio, there’s less screen time for a character we already know and love from previous seasons.

But it also can be good.

Because Glee’s creators — with a few notable exceptions –do a nice job of adding people who bring something new and memorable to the show. Characters we want to know more about.

A case in point this season was the relatively brief appearance of Wade Adams, the new lead singer of Vocal Adrenaline, the archrivals of the New Directions kids.

Wade, who’s played by Season One “The Glee Project” runner-up Alex Newell, came in with a bit of pressure before we knew anything else about him.

Vocal Adrenaline has a history of winning national championships, and Wade was being coached by a very driven Jesse St. James who led the group to some of those national titles himself.

Wade had more than a garden variety case of nerves however. He also was battling some internal challenges.

He felt most alive — most himself — when he was dressed as his alter-ego, a confident female performer he called Unique. And Wade turned to Kurt Hummel and Mercedes Jones for advice on whether he should follow his heart and take the stage as Unique or stick to the status quo and perform as Wade.

Kurt and Mercedes weren’t sure what to recommend.

They were all for Wade being true to himself, but they also knew a performance in drag might be more than a traditional show choir audience was ready for. So they wanted to protect Wade. But, they’d also heard Wade sing and knew he was their biggest competition for the national title. After a little wrangling among themselves and Sue Sylvester, they decided to support Wade in his performance as Unique, even if it cost them the title.

As you might expect, Unique was fabulous, singing “Boogie Shoes,” “Starships” and “Pinball Wizard.” Kurt and Mercedes beamed from the sidelines as Jesse St. James fumed. If you watched Season Three, you know New Directions ultimately ended up on top, but you also heard Wade/Unique say he might have to transfer schools next year — and I don’t think he was referring to Dalton Academy.

So that’s why, if I were the librarian at William McKinley High, I’d feel comfortable recommending Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright (Simon and Schuster, 2011) to Wade.

A little summer reading is always a good idea, and this is just the book Wade needs.

This novel feature Carlos Duarte, high schooler who knows exactly what he’s good at — making people look fabulous with his make-up skills. As you might imagine this makes him a bit of an oddity at his school. The fact that he wears make-up himself, is gay and is chunky doesn’t help matters either.

For all that, Carlos is very confident in who he is and what he wants. He knows he has what it takes to be a famous make-up artist, and he moves full-speed toward that goal with help from his friends, his sister and a boy Carlos may like as more than a friend. But Carlos’  oversized confidence and personality get him noticed in good and bad ways.

On the good side …

Carlos gets a job at the FeatureFace counter

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3. Music Monday - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Had a lovely couple of weeks with family celebrating the wedding (and first two receptions) of my son and his new wife Rachel. Am now trying to get caught up and back into the swing of things here at home....

Sortof thematically, I thought I would post one of my favorite numbers from this season's Glee:
Beautiful harmonies!(full, audio-only version can be found here).

Happy March!

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4. Ypulse Essentials: The White House Gets Millennials, Tablets For Kids, Millennial Spending

Michelle Obama will be making her first appearance on Nick’s Kids’ Choice Awards this weekend (presenting Taylor Swift with the Big Help Award. The First Lady won the award herself in 2010 for the Let’s Move! Campaign. In other... Read the rest of this post

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5. Ypulse Essentials: College Admissions And Student Debt, ‘Glee’ Gets Gomez And One Direction, iPad = Any Tablet

In the competitive landscape of college admissions (plenty of students get waitlisted and hold out hope that they’ll make it into an exclusive university. But in reality, not many students make it from waitlist to campus at the U.S.’s... Read the rest of this post

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6. A break from our normal programming to discuss Justin Bieber

In December, I shared a clip of my youngest playing piano at her school concert. To be fair, I am now posting a video of my oldest who sings with the a cappella group at her high school.

The group is co-ed and sings a wide variety of songs. But this clip features just the ladies of the Edgetones delivering a heartfelt tribute to teen singing sensation Justin Bieber. They’ve even copied his iconic fashion sense. Why did they choose to sing a Justin song? It was to honor their director who, it seems, has said he is, let us just say, not fond of Justin Bieber.

Be that as it may, I think you’ll agree that the Lady Edgetones rock this song. They’re all awesome, but because you’re reading my blog, I feel compelled to point out that my daughter has a brief solo later in the song. She’s the one with a black ponytail wearing a turquoise hooded sweatshirt and black pants. (And, because it’s my blog, she’s shown front and center in the video thumbnail below.)

So without further ado:

Now for a note from our sponsor.

If you’ve never seen the real Justin Bieber (and my guess is some of my blog readers have not) then just to stay culturally informed and hip to the trends of the times, you can seem him singing this exact same song in this video clip. You’ll notice that he’s not wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses here, but rest assured, he certainly has in the past. Note the reaction of the teen girls in the audience to his every nuance.

And, to show how steeped Mr. Bieber has become in our collective consciousness, the fine folks at “Glee” also covered this song last year.

Sam Evans was singing the song hoping to entice Quinn Fabray to stay with him and not go back to her first love, Finn Hudson. Since then, Quinn has dated Finn, gotten mono, been broken up with by Finn, gotten accepted into Yale, gotten into a car accident while texting and driving and is now — while in a wheelchair — showing just a bit of interest in Artie and Joe.

And Sam? He’s moved away, moved back, worked as a stripper, joined the synchronized swim team and is now trying to get together with Mercedes. What can I say? It’s “Glee.”

Anyway, Sam’s version of the song — which I think is a bit nicer than Justin’s — is here.

There. Now you can successfully engage any tween or teen — or me for that matter — in conversation for at least a few moments longer than you otherwise might have been able to.

You’re welcome.

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7. Ypulse Essentials: Google++++, Digital Abuse Grows, Obama Needs Millennials To Win In 2012

Maybe it should be called Google++++ (considering the fledgling social network managed to post a whopping 1269% increase in traffic over the previous week. What drove the huge leap? The network is now open to everyone and no longer requires invites.... Read the rest of this post

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8. Ypulse Essentials: Warner Bros. Creepy Social Series, Arby’s Goes ‘Healthy,’ Music Makes It All Better

We know Millennials have more relaxed views about online privacy (than do older generations, but even they might think Warner Bros. has crossed the line with its new online “social series” called “Aim High.” Starring Jackson... Read the rest of this post

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9. Sing You Must

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10. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d recommend to Artie Abrams

Accidents of Nature One of the the things I’ve always liked about Artie Abrams, one of the Glee Club members at William McKinley High School — besides his beautiful singing voice — is that he doesn’t seem overly fixated on the fact he’s in a wheelchair.

Yes, Artie has had moments where he’s dreamed of being a dancer. And, yes, he’s researched technology that could allow him to walk in the future. But most of Artie’s energy seems to be focused on similar concerns as the rest of the Glee Club kids — who is he in love with this episode — Brittany? Tina? And, with Season Three under way, a lot of his effort is going into being a director for the schools production of “West Side Story.”

Even when Artie was given a contraption that allowed him to stand for short periods of time in last year’s Christmas episode, he didn’t want it for himself. He wanted it for Brittany, who had asked Santa Claus to make her boyfriend walk. He didn’t want her to be disappointed if her wish wasn’t granted. Just some evidence that Artie’s basically a nice guy.

That’s all well and good.

But if I were the librarian at William McKinley High School, I’d suggest Artie read Harriet McBryde Johnson’s Accidents of Nature (Henry Holt and Co., 2006).

It’s a book about Jean, a teenager growing up in 1970. She’s in a wheelchair. She has cerebral palsy. She’s smart and opinionated, but she can’t make her body do what she wants it to. And, she has a hard time speaking so others can understand her.

Jean spends part of her summer at a camp for kids with disabilities. It’s the type of camp you wouldn’t find today. It combines kids with every possible kind of disability. There are kids in wheelchairs because of diseases like cerebal palsy. Kids in wheelchairs because of accidents. Kids with epilepsy. Kids who are super-intelligent. Kids with a variety of severe cognitive disabilities. And even a few kids referred to as “walkie-talkies” who walk and talk without any problems, but have other issues like epilepsy, anger-management or even asthma.

As you might imagine, the staff has a hard time coming up with activities everyone can do.

This is all eye-opening for Jean. She’s been a bit over-protected by he parents, and she’s the only kid in a wheelchair in her public high school, and even though she needs someone to feed her and dress her and move her in and out of her wheelchair, she’s always considered herself pretty much like everyone else at her school.

Being with a group of kids with all kinds of abilities and challenges makes Jean re-evaluate herself, her family and her friends, and her newly formed opinions aren’t always positive. Her cynical cabinmate, Sara, forces Jean to expand her world view, review her life goals and question people’s motives.

In some ways, it’s a disturbing book.

But it’s also a valuable story of friendship and self-discovery. I think Artie would see it as such, and he’d also be pleased that he’s growing up now instead of in the ’70s.

Unlike Jean, Artie, who’s portrayed by Kevin McHale (and NOT the Kevin McHale who used to play for the Boston Celtics), is very self-sufficient. And because he can use his arms and speak clearly, he fits in much more easily than Jean ever could. But I sometimes wonder how much he’s really come to terms with his condition.

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11. Ypulse Essentials: People’s Choice Award Nominees, Teens Are Mean Online, Hang Out On +YouTube

The people have spoken, and we’re excited to see many of our favorite acts and programs (among the 2012 People’s Choice Award nominees! “Harry Potter” leads the way with nine nods, and Katy Perry and “Glee” are also top contenders. In... Read the rest of this post

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12. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d recommend to Mike Chang

Good Enough" the book I'd recommend to Mike Chang.Any way you look at it, it’s been a rough senior year for Glee’s Mike Chang so far.

He got yelled at by Sue Sylvester on the third day of school. He had to convince some reluctant football players that dancing would help their sports skills. He watched several New Directions members leave the group and start a competing club. And then, just as he was helping whip the remaining glee clubbers into tip-top dancing shape, he received an A- on a chemistry test.

Brittany would have been thrilled, but Mike was devastated.

Turns out an A- is considered an “Asian F” in Mike’s family. In fact, the grade was low enough for his dad to call an emergency meeting with Principal Figgins to discuss Mike’s future.

It also turns out Mike’s parents want him to go to an Ivy League college and become a doctor or a lawyer. Mike, who’s played by Harry Shum Jr., wants to dance, but is afraid to tell his parents. He tries to improve his chemistry grade and secretly try out for the school musical, but there are too many schedule conflicts. His mother finds out he’s been cast as Riff and is supportive, but his father confronts Mike and ultimately disowns him when Mike admits he wants to perform.

And you thought your life was complicated.

Mike’s girlfriend, Tina, tries to help by visiting Mike’s father at work and sharing a DVD of his performance in “West Side Story.” But Mr. Chang is unmoved and accuses Tina of having unrealistic expectations and fostering the same in his son.

This is the point in the story where, if I were a librarian at William McKinley High School, I would have given Mike a copy of Good Enough (Harper Teen, 2008) by Paula Yoo.

Because it’s not an assigned English literature text and wouldn’t appear on a recommended reading list for the SATs, Mike probably would have had to read it on the sly, but I think the benefits would have been worth the risk.

It’s the story of Patti Yoon.

And her story is not unlike young Mr. Chang’s. Patti’s parents expect nothing but the best from her. But only if the best will look good on her applications to Harvard, Princeton or Yale. Straight As are an expectation and extracurricular activities are carefully chosen.

In fact, Patti was introduced to the violin as a young child so it could be her “hook.” Something that would help her stand out from the many other talented, college applicants with 4.0 GPAs and high standardized test scores.

But for that to happen, Patti has to be a good violinist.

Fortunately, Patti has a natural aptitude for the instrument. That coupled with private lessons and a rigorous practice schedule have turned her into one of the best high school players in the state. But her practice SAT scores aren’t as high as her parents would like them to be, so Patti finds herself on a strict schedule of studying, test-taking and violin playing.

There are breaks for her to attend church, where Patti’s youth group is made up of other Korean teens whose parents expect similar success. But there aren’t any breaks when a cute trumpet/guitar player invites Patti to jam with his band or attend a rock concert. And when she tries to juggle her schedule and secretly do a few fun activities, her parents find out and react pretty much like Mike’s dad.

Meanwhile, Patti is enjoying mu

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13. Ypulse Essentials: Spotify Radio Revamped, Google Currents, Video Streaming Updates

Spotify just got even cooler with an enhanced version of Spotify Radio (which lets users create unlimited stations by artist, track, or genre, receive recommendations with an improved feature, and skip as many songs as they wish. This should make... Read the rest of this post

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14. Ypulse Essentials: The Grammys Were Flat, Getting Serious About Streaming TV, More Hunger Games News

 There were few surprises at the Grammy Awards this year, including Adele taking home (six awards, winning in every category in which she was nominated. The Grammys tried to reach out to a young audience with a showcase of electronica music, which... Read the rest of this post

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15. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d recommend to Santana Lopez

Sister Mischief by Laura Goode You might have heard some buzz about Sister Mischief, the debut young adult novel by Laura Goode (Candlewick, 2011).

And, you might be wondering what makes it so special.

Well, for one thing, it’s a sharply written book with compelling characters and an engaging plot. For another, it’s got a killer voice. Here’s a sample:

Me and my sisters are four mud-slinging, bomb-dropping, clam-jamming, bringers of mischief about to spit some rhymes like you’ve never heard … Hold on to your hosiery, because we’re about to load you up with a fat dose of wickedness, whimsy, thievery, sensation, charm and general ruckus-making.

In fact, New Mexico librarian Angie Manfredi (known as @misskubelik on Twitter) recently tweeted that this book was, “The best multicultural, feminist, lesbian hip-hop romance you’ll ever read.”

And, she just might be right.

That’s why — if I were a librarian at Glee’s William McKinley High — I’d recommend this book to hilariously mean but troubled teen Santana Lopez, who’s played with skill by actress Naya Rivera.

Why? Because it says everything Santana needs to hear.

First, it has a main character just as strong and opinionated as Santana herself. Esme Rockett is the leader of an unlikely high school hip-hop group in Holyhill, Minnesota. She’s Jewish, lesbian and one heck of a lyricist. Her bandmates are her best friends — Marcy, Tess and Rohini, better known as Rowie.

Second, Esme finds herself in a situation similar to Santana’s. Esme is in love with her best friend, Rowie. Rowie loves her back, but isn’t willing to go public with the relationship and isn’t even totally sure if she’s lesbian, bisexual or something else.

While Santana’s best friend and sometimes love interest, Brittany, doesn’t seem to feel the family pressure Rowie does to conform to a heterosexual lifestyle, Brittany did choose Artie over Santana last season and has not fully responded to several declarations of love from Santana.

But that might be OK

Almost everyone has had the experience of loving someone who doesn’t love them back in the way they’d like. And few people find true, lasting love their first time out of the gate. I’d hope Santana would see that even though Esme’s romance with Rowie doesn’t end the way she hoped, Esme still has a lot to give and a bright future.

The biggest difference between Esme and Santana is that Esme has a core group of friends she trusts implicitly. Her life isn’t always easy, but her friends know her and love her. And she has an extremely tolerant and understanding father. While Esme isn’t above causing chaos at school when she thinks there are wrongs to be righted, she doesn’t lash out randomly at her classmates like Santana famously does.

That’s because Esme has accepted herself, something Santana still struggles with.

So if I were Glee’s librarian, I’d give Santana the book and ask her to read it, paying special attention to page 256, where Esme’s dad comforts her, saying, “You did the most sacred, human thing in the world. You fell in love with another human being. I know how it feels to lose that.”

I’d also refer Santana to page 317 where Esme and Rowie have a hard conversation and decide their friendship an

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16. Ypulse Essentials: Nicktoons Turns 20,’Breaking Dawn’ Stills, KidZui Creates A Children’s Search Enginge

Happy Birthday, Nicktoons! (Twenty years ago, Nickelodeon debuted “Doug,” “Rugrats,” and “Ren & Stimpy” – the very first Nicktoons, which revolutionized children’s TV! Thankfully “Doug” is currently part of the network’s... Read the rest of this post

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17. Ypulse Essentials: RIP HP TouchPad, The OED Adds More Gen Y Lingo, BBM Music?

Tablets are everywhere these days (but unfortunately HP couldn’t handle all the competition. Despite their huge marketing push with stars like Lea Michele and Russell Brand behind them — literally! — HP discontinued the device after less than... Read the rest of this post

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18. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d give Tina Cohen-Chang

My Not-So-Still LifeI have a confession to make.

Not too long ago, I had bright purple streaks in my dark brown hair.

It was fun.

My children’s classmates thought I was the coolest mom ever, and convenience-store clerks with multiple piercings gave me compliments.

So … I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Glee’s Tina Cohen-Chang with her slightly goth look, colorful make-up and ever-changing hair.

I think she’s cool.

But I’m not sure Tina would agree.

She seems to want to change herself to put up a specific image. In season one, she revealed she didn’t really stutter, she had just done it to get attention. And in season two, she wore blue contact lenses so she’d look more like the models she saw in magazines.

And while I totally admire her hair, nails, make-up and clothes, Tina (who’s played by Jenna Ushkowitz) doesn’t strike me as a true goth. She’s a little too cheerful. A little too eager-to-please.

And, she’s shown a lack of confidence — whether it’s bursting into tears while singing “I Follow Rivers” at the poorly attended Glee Club fundraiser or worrying that she wasn’t as good as Rachel when Mr. Schuster asked her to sing “Tonight” from “West Side Story.”

So, if I were the librarian at William McKinley High, I’d pull Tina aside and give her My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher (Wendy Lamb Books, 2011).

Because it’s about a girl who discovers what’s under her make-up and day-glo hair.

Vanessa is a high school artist with big dreams. She doesn’t just want her art to stand out, she wants to stand out as well. As she says early on in the book, “All the talent in the world doesn’t equal an actual personality. It’s not enough only to make the art. You have to be the artist.”

So her look is always changing. Her friend, Nick, colors her hair whenever she asks him to and does her make-up to match.

And Vanessa plans outfits that help her stand out.

For example, on the day she has a job interview at an art supply store she wears a purple net top, short, black pleated skirt and hot pink fishnet stockings. She considers wearing something else, but decides this look is “more professional.”

As the book proceeds, Vanessa gets so caught up in reinventing who she is and finding newer, cooler, more artistic friends that her focus on her art wanes. She saves her project for the school art show until the very end and then spray paints a wall and a nearby park in a misguided attempt at public art. Meanwhile, she pushes her two long-time friends — Nick and Holly — to do things they’re not ready to do because she thinks they’re not taking enough risks. And, Vanessa almost does something she’s not ready for either.

It takes temporarily losing their friendship for Vanessa to see that she may be pushing herself and them too hard

So she decides to back off.

She dyes her hair its natural brown (a color it hasn’t been since sixth grade), cleans up her public art and eventually learns that, as she puts it, “There’s a shock to not being shocking.”

I don’t think Tina pushes other people to do things they’d rather not. But, like Vanessa, I don’t think she’s 100 percent sure of who she is beneath the colored extensions and pink eyeshadow. I think spending some time with

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19. Ypulse Essentials: ‘Monsters University,’ 3D Textbooks, Facebook & Twitter Reach Record Visitors

Among the many movies discussed at Disney’s D23 conference (we’re most excited about ‘Monsters University,” the prequel to the beloved “Monsters, Inc.” As the title suggests, the film will focus on Mike and Sulley at school way... Read the rest of this post

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20. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d give Mercedes Jones

Dramarama -- The book I'd give to Glee's Mercedes JonesGlee’s Mercedes Jones has a lot of fine qualities.

She’s a good friend. When her classmate Kurt’s father is hospitalized, she provides support and encouragement.

She fights for what she believes in. When cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester bans tater tots from the William McKinley High School cafeteria, Mercedes stages a Norma-Rae-like protest.

And, she’s a good songwriter. Her anthem “Hell to the No” was my favorite of all the student-penned songs in Season Two.

But Mercedes, who is played delightfully by Amber Riley, can be a bit of a diva.

That shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Nearly ever character on Glee has been a diva at one time or another. But Mercedes’ divahood is different.

It’s not a constant state. It only bursts out when she feels overlooked by Mr. Shuester or overshadowed by other Glee Club members.

Unfortunately, those things happen frequently.

Mercedes joined Glee Club expecting to be the star. Early on, when she was asked to sing backup, Mercedes announced, “I’m Beyonce! I ain’t no Kelly Rowland.”

Later, when she realized her solos would be few and far between thanks to the oversized voices of Kurt Hummel and Rachel Berry, she lamented, “You guys only trot me out to wail at the end of a number.”

Things came to a head when the Glee Club held a fundraising concert. Mercedes decided she wanted the closing number that Rachel was slated for, so fellow overlooked Glee Club member Lauren Zizes offered to be her manager.

Lauren had Mercedes command respect by listing her demands, which included being carried onto the stage and having fresh puppies to dry her hands on.

Frankly, it was all a little much.

Around this time, if I had been a librarian at William McKinley High School, I would have gently suggested Mercedes read Dramarama by E. Lockhart (Hyperion, 2007). In fact, I would have handed it to her personally.

Why? It’s the story of a muscial-loving girl who’s overshadowed by her superstar best friend.

And while the book isn’t an exact retelling of Mercedes’ life, there are some pretty strong parallels.

Let’s start with the basics.

Sarah Paulson is a gawky, white, “Cabaret”-obsessed adolescent. Her best friend is Demi, an African-American gay teen who likes Liza Minnelli just as much as she does. If you change the races around and substitute Patti LuPone and Aretha Franklin for Liza Minnelli, you have Mercedes’ relationship with Kurt Hummel.

Demi christens Sarah “Sadye” (pronounced SAY-dee) to reflect his belief that she has what it takes to be famous. He encourages her to not try to be like petite, blonde Kristin Chenoweth, but to focus on “being Sadye” and bringing her own talents to light.

Sadye knows Demi is gay right from the start, but she still has a small crush on him and spends time with him instead of with boys who might be interested in her romantically. This also echoes Mercedes’ crush on Kurt and her feelings of being overlooked when he starts dating Blaine.

Things fall apart when Demi and Sadye go to summer theater camp.

Demi and Sadye are convinced they’ll nab fabulo

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21. Ypulse Essentials: Disney Princess Video Game, VMAs Sets Record Ratings, H&M + Elle Launch E-Commerce

The classic Disney Princesses are back (in a video game called Disney Princess: Enchanting Storybooks, which will be available this fall on the uDraw GameTablet for Wii and the Nintendo DS. Users will relive their favorite tales while playing... Read the rest of this post

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22. Ypulse Essentials: Twitter And Tumblr Are Growing, Parents Are Leaving Kids Out Of Back-To-School Shopping, Mobile Gaming

Twitter has topped (100 million active users. Among the interesting usage stats the social network announced, 55% are mobile users, and 40% don’t tweet, logging in only to check out what others are saying. Tumblr users are also prolific,... Read the rest of this post

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23. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d give to Brittany Pierce

The book I'd recommend to Glee's Brittany Pierce -- The Five Flavors of Dumb.Glee cheerleader Brittany Pierce may be best known for not being the brightest bulb in the choir room.

But that’s not why I’d give her Antony John’s new book Five Flavors of Dumb (Dial, 2010) if I were a librarian at William McKinley High.

I’d give it to her because there’s more to Brittany than initially meets the eye.

Sure, Brittany can be a bit dim. She’s known for comments that make the rest of the Glee Club do a double take like, “Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks?” She struggles knowing her left from her right, is pleased when she can sound out the word “L-O-V-E” written on the choir room white board, and she still believes in Santa Claus. She even proudly wears a T-shirt reading “I’m with stoopid” featuring an arrow pointing toward her face.

But Brittany, who’s played by the multi-talented Heather Morris, can also be one of the wisest characters on the show. She alone can call Santana Lopez out when she’s hiding her true self behind a wall of false bravado. She stands up to Sue Sylvester when Sue wants to shoot her out of a cannon — leading Quinn and Santana to do the same — and she showcased her uncommon knowledge of cat diseases to help the Brainiac academic decathalon team win an important match.

Perhaps most importantly, she’s not ashamed of who she is.

Of all the Glee characters, Brittany is, oddly enough, one of the most secure. She doesn’t seem bothered by the perception that she’s dumb and she seems to be quite good at standing up for what she wants, whether it’s refusing Artie’s prom proposal because he called her stupid, telling Santana off for hiding her true self by pretending to date Karofsky or starting a fashion trend by wearing leg warmers on her arms. She’s not hiding a deep secret, and she’s not ashamed of who she is. What you see is usually what you get.

That’s why she reminds me of Piper, this book’s main character.

Like Brittany, Piper has a challenge that seems obvious. She’s deaf. But Piper doesn’t let that define her. She succeeds in regular high school classes thanks to her excellent lip-reading skills, her ability to speak, a pair of hot-pink hearing aids and a refusal to give up. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s very smart.

Unlike Brittany, Piper doesn’t have many friends. There’s Ed Chen from the chess club. And then there’s her brother, Finn, who alternately annoys her and helps her. In fact, Piper is counting down the days in her senior year until she can graduate and attend Galludet University a college for deaf and hearing-impaired students where everyone knows sign language.

But Piper’s life takes an unexpected turn when she sees a band called Dumb perform on school grounds. She can’t hear the music, but she’s drawn to its energy. And when she gets into an argument with the self-satisfied lead singer about how the band should market itself, she finds herself facing a challenge — get the band a paying gig in a month.

No one thinks she can do it.

Several band members aren’t pleased that she’s meddling in their affairs. Her father thinks she should find another hobby and her mother thinks the band is just a passing fad. But quicker than a sound check, Piper puts her mark on the band. She gets th

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24. Los Angeles Author Events With Jane Lynch, Dave Barry and Deepak Chopra to Benefit First Book

Los Angeles Author Events With Jane Lynch, Dave Barry and Deepak Chopra to Benefit First Book

If you live in the Los Angeles area, or will be visiting this fall, or are up for a road trip, you’ll have three chances to spend an evening with some amazing authors … and get new books to kids in need at the same time.

Jane Lynch, Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson, and Deepak Chopra & Leonard Mlodinow will be appearing at Live Talks Los Angeles events this fall, and the proceeds from every ticket sold will help First Book bring brand-new books to children from low-income families in Los Angeles.

First Book is thrilled about our new partnership with Live Talks Los Angeles, and we hope many of you are able to attend one of these great shows and support the work we’re doing in California. Ticket prices for these events start at $20.

If you attend one (or all) of these events, share a message on our Facebook page and let us know what you thought.

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25. Ypulse Essentials: Kindle Books Available At Libraries, Gen Y Cuts Back On Shopping, ‘Sesame Street’ Does ‘Glee’

eBook readers rejoice (now that Kindle books are available at more than 11,000 libraries in the U.S.! Amazon launched the lending library service today and we think it will be a big hit among Millennials who enjoy this medium and are constantly... Read the rest of this post

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